Date-Fig Nut Loaf
This bread makes a nutritious Tu b’Shevat or anytime breakfast with most of its sweetness coming from the abundance of chopped dried fruit. The hint of lemon provides a bit of tartness for balance and freshness, while pecans add a Southern touch. Eat it fresh out of the oven or toasted and served with butter, cream cheese or any nut butter. It freezes well and makes a mostly natural sweet treat, even for dessert.
- 8 ounces (about 1½ cups) pitted dates
- 8 ounces (about 1½ cups) dried figs
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest from 2 oranges
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ¾ cup softened butter or pareve margarine, or ¾ cups vegetable oil
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Additional pecans for decorative topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of two 8½-by-4½-by-2½-inch loaf pans or four small 6-by-3-by-2½-inch loaf pans. Chop dates and figs in a food processor. Be sure to cut off the stem pieces at the tip of the fruit. Place all the chopped fruit in a bowl. Add the lemon and orange juices and stir. Let this mixture sit while preparing other ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, zests and chopped pecans.
- In large bowl, beat the butter or oil and brown sugar together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the fruit mixture to the creamed butter mixture, stirring each time only until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pans and smooth the top. Decorate the top of each loaf with pecan pieces. Bake large loaf for 50 to 60 minutes and small loaf for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.